11 November 2009

The gaming class system....

There's been a lot of clashing between people who are complaining about increased prices or games, DLC on day one and other issues related to gaming where features have been removed for PC players and people who will literally take anything that is thrown their way by developers.

Honestly, i think there's a class system coming from society that is breaking into gaming now. Originally, and this is just my opinion, gaming was taken up by the upper and middle classes as games consoles, PCs and games were all very expensive. Gradually the prices came down and the mass market penetration that is allowed by that also followed. Now, however, you're seeing developers and publishers pushing the prices of games up again - whether that's an extra cost at purchase or if it's day one paid-DLC (downloadable content) for more of the game. There's also the issue of DRM, whether that's transparent DRM (like securom) or if it's obfuscated through "signing up" services like Impulse and Dragon Age's community site (which allow you to get updates and unlock certain content).

Accompanying this push is the aforementioned gamer arguments and i tend to find that once again the middle/upper classes with lots of disposable income are willing to let anything slide. They have money and can spend it any way they wish. On the other side of the argument are the poorer people and those who are philosophically opposed to the particular practices that the gaming industry is evolving.

The thing that's interesting (but also personally annoying) is that those "haves" who don't mind all the crap that's continually happening each have their own breaking points - decisions made by companies that they oppose on philosophical or monetary grounds - but until they reach that point they continually dismiss and deride those other people who take issue with other decisions.

"It's just another facet of society", you might say..... We have already experienced this sort of behaviour many times throughout history (perhaps even constantly) and it's just seeping into gaming. The annoying thing is that it really doesn't appear to exist in any other entertainment media. Books, films/TV and music - you can freely complain about the price of an album or how it's not good value for money, you don't have to pay for extra chapters of a book that the author might think it was cool to write but didn't get them ready in time for the original printing run. No one bats an eyelid and yet in the gaming community you are constantly labelled as complainers or angry internet men. Whatever happened to having an open mind? What ever happened to people realising that a company "making money" isn't bad but a company "making money in whatever way possible" is?

IMO, there is a large swathe of the gaming community that has gone from being interested in the rights of the consumer to being company focused. There can be no questioning company decisions, they read from the manual of the Ministry of Truth and never look up to question those words.

We'll see how it plays out but i'm not confident in the game industry surviving in the future other than minigames, MMOs and free indie stuff. There's just no reason for you to pay the amount we do for a game only to discover that on day one you don't own (sorry, license) the full game.

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